The Student News Site of Bridgewater-Raritan High School

The Prowler

The Student News Site of Bridgewater-Raritan High School

The Prowler

The Student News Site of Bridgewater-Raritan High School

The Prowler

Bridgewater-Raritan freshman Savanna Michalak is a national dog show champion

Michalak and her dog, Hawk, are presented an award. (Savanna Michalak)

Bridgewater-Raritan High School freshman Savanna Michalak continues to win national awards for competing at dog shows with her three-year-old Australian Shepherd named Hawk.

Her most recent and notorious wins include 2023 Best of Opposite at Westminster, 2023 Best of Breed at the Old Dominion Australian Shepherd Association Specialty, Best Junior at the Philadelphia National Dog Show and Owner Handler Reserve Best in Show at the Florida National Championship. 

For winning Best Junior at the Philadelphia National Dog Show, Michalak won a $5,500 scholarship, which she intends to use for her continuing education.

Last December at the Florida National Championship where Michalak won Reserve Best in Show, she competed among 875 people that represented 209 different breeds and varieties of dogs.

Michalak said that this championship was an “incredible journey” for her and Hawk. They worked together all year to get invited to compete in the 2023 National Owner-Handled Series, she said. At the competition, Michalak first won Best Owner Handler in the Australian Shepherd ring, where she then went on to compete in the Herding group ring.

She explained how she felt winning the title.

“I was in shock when Judge Linda Clark pointed to me for first place,” Michalak said.

Bridgewater-Raritan freshman Savanna Michalak competing at a dog show. (Savanna Michalak)

She ended the Florida Championship the next day by being awarded the Reserve Owner Handler under CEO of the American Kennel Club (AKC) Judge Dennis Sprung.

Michalak explains the hard work she and her dog Hawk put into training.

“We went to Florida hoping for this moment and all of our training paid off,” she said.

A three hour special of the AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin on ABC aired December 31. Michalak was awarded during this special.

To win these awards, Michalak puts a lot of work into training behind the scenes. She attends weekly handling classes with different dogs. At home, Michalak shares that she works on the dogs’ grooming, including weekly baths, blowouts and trims or other training. 

She shares the importance of putting in work on a daily basis.

“Working with a dog on a daily basis provides not only me with the skills I need but builds the dog’s confidence to be able to compete in the ring under any condition,” she said.

Showing dogs has been a passion for Michalak for several years, and she continues to learn about the different breeds and their respective needs. Her love for dogs allows her to form a special bond with them, ultimately helping them become a team and win competitions.

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About the Contributor
Gianna Jakubowski
Gianna Jakubowski, Editor-in-Chief
Gianna is a senior at Bridgewater-Raritan High School. She has been writing for The Prowler all throughout high school, and this is her second year being editor. Gianna has a strong passion for journalism and plans to pursue it as a career. In her free time, she likes to read and catch up on politics!
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